My Friday night was dominated by Steve Grand, who had a gig at XL followed by an appearance at a fundraiser for Bailey House at the Lexington. Yes, the Chicago boy has been in NYC this week, and these were his first appearances I was able to catch. (He sold out shows at Subculture as well, where he interrupted one song for a pee break, and bartended for Andy Cohen...and he's not even a ginger!)
XL did a good job converting itself into a cabaret space, with tables covering the dance floor and a keyboard for Steve center stage. A sport-jacketed Steve came out on time and energetically worked his way through original songs (including singles "All-American Boy" and "Stay," the latter of which I think is superior to the former, and unreleased works "Whiskey", "Good-Bye to Your Man" and "Loving Again") and covers of songs by Lady Gaga, The Beatles and Elton John.
I had been asked not to video anything, so I don't have my usual HD video of every word out of the performer's mouth. But every single other person in the place had a cellphone up, so check YouTube.
Steve was in excellent voice. He seems to sound better every time he hits a stage. He's also an ingratiating performer, one who frequently reminds his audience that he would like to hug us, and then proceeds to do so with his smile, his warm vocals and his open-armed gestures that punctuate nearly every song.